ULI Tampa Bay has released a groundbreaking report on climate resilience strategies for Florida’s Tampa Bay region, where more than half the area’s 3 million residents live within ten feet (3 m) above sea level. Realizing Resilience recommends strategies that can make a difference in protecting the region—highly susceptible to sea-level rise and storm surges—against the impacts of climate change while also promoting social equity and expanding economic opportunity to historically disadvantaged residents.
ULI Tampa Bay’s work received a $20,000 Urban Resilience grant, funded with support from the Kresge Foundation and the ULI Foundation Annual Fund.
The report is the result of an intensive, two-day workshop hosted by ULI Tampa Bay in December in which resilience experts from across the Institute’s member networks joined local members and city officials to share lessons from other climate-vulnerable cities such as New Orleans, Boston, and Miami. Although the report’s recommendations apply to the entire Tampa Bay region, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, and its mayor, Rick Kriseman, sponsored the workshop and were closely involved throughout the process.
Also at the workshop were community activists who shared candid observations about the challenge of ensuring that all residents—regardless of income—share in the prosperity and other benefits that a more climate-resilient city can bring. The report’s recommendations include the following:
- Integrate resilience goals and decision making throughout all functions of city government and across agencies and making resilience a core value of the city’s capital budgeting process.
- Invest in infrastructure that yields multiple benefits, from hardening physical assets to connecting neighborhoods, and contributing to the well-being of all residents.
- Identify new messengers and create an inclusive communications strategy so that all residents, particularly those in vulnerable areas, understand climate risks and opportunities.
“The Realizing Resilience report provides St. Petersburg with a framework for resiliency planning as well as project implementation recommendations that will improve our approach to equity across the investments we are making in the city’s future,” Kriseman said.